Zhaleh is a mixed-race, able-bodied woman with Filipino and Iranian ancestors. She grew up in an upper-middle class household in southwestern Ontario, Canada, with parents who instilled in her a sense of civic responsibility early on through their own international development work. Zhaleh is passionate about racial and gender justice, queer liberation, progressive and inclusive Islam, and connecting local and international struggles for self-determination and decolonization.
As an undergraduate student in Montreal, Zhaleh was a producer with Spitfiyah! Women of Color Radio Collective and a facilitator with the Sexual Assault Center of McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS). There she first learned about Kimberle Crenshaw’s work on intersectionality—a concept that would catalyze her future facilitation and advocacy work.
Zhaleh earned her Master’s in Public Administration with a specialization in public and nonprofit management and policy from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a Bachelor’s degree in Middle East Studies and Political Science from McGill University.
Zhaleh splits her time between the US and Canada. When she is not facilitating, Zhaleh is a “sometimes” writer and media-maker. Her writing has appeared in Refinery29 and she has read at the Bureau of General Services Queer Division (BGSQD) bookstore in New York City. Zhaleh lives with her partner and their pet turtle, Smiley Mousa.
You can contact Zhaleh at zhaleh(at)aorta(dot)coop